AFRICA’S current champion, Edem Offiong, continued her slump in table tennis when she could not even muster a win at the 2012 edition of the Women’s World Cup in Huangshi, China, which was organised by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF).
Aside representing Nigeria at the competition, Offiong was the continent’s flagbearer, but she could not win any of the three matches she played. She lost to United States’ Ariel Hsing and New Zealand’s Li Chunli, despite being ahead of her opponents in terms of experience and age.
In her first match, the coachless Offiong lost to Hsing (10-12, 11-8, 11-7, 11-8, 11-13, 11-7, and suffered her second defeat on same day against New Zealand’s China-born Chunli 6-11, 11-5, 11-9, 11-7, 12-10.
Nevertheless, Offiong was applauded in her defeats by the fans after she showed signs of recovery in the contests on the first day of play in Huangshi. According to ITTF Publication Editor, Ian Marshall, Offiong really exhibited the quality associated with Nigerians.
“A powerful right handed top spin play in true Nigerian mould, she gained the plaudits of the crowd for her efforts but unforced errors let her down,” Marshall said.
“No doubt, the errors were forced by a lack of preparation; a journey of 16 hours and no time to practice, a jet lagged Offiong Edem was never really totally focused on the task in hand.”
Offiong, who was edged out in the preliminary round of the London Olympics by Egypt’s Dina Meshref, could not measure up in her last match, where she further fell to Brazil’s Caroline Kumahara 11-3, 11-7, 9-11, 11-6,11-8 to exit the championship.
And for her 100 per cent record, American teenager, Hsing, was crowned the Intercontinental Cup champion.